Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Good News, Bad News, Advice Please

The good news is the strips held together for this wood grain serving tray and the glaze came out just like I wanted. I love the subtle sheen of the glaze on this piece.

Doesn't it look just like a wooden tray, like strips of wood were glued together? The simple organic look really appeals to me. The tray is 2 high x 13 wide x 8 wide in inches.

Now the bad news. I put the tray on a half shelf which I don't normally use just to fit it in the kiln. A big chunk of clay stuck to the shelf and several smaller pieces of clay also stuck to the shelf.

I don't think these shelves had enough kiln wash. These are shelves I got with my old kiln and I relied on the previous owners kiln wash. Big mistake. I have used the shelves before but for smaller pieces. Do you think lack of kiln wash is the whole problem? There wasn't any glaze on the bottom of the tray to stick to the shelf so I don't see why it stuck like this and a chunk came out. I did not use porcelain sand under this tray, perhaps that would have helped. I've never had this happen; what are your thoughts?

I am going to recoat my kiln shelves with kiln wash this week. If I am recoating them. Do I have to re fire them separately or can I fire them with work on them? I'll be making several more of these trays over the next several weeks. Thanks for reading and for all  your comments.


  1. Your tray really does look like wood! I hope you are able to sand down the bottom so that it will be sale-able.
    My guess would be that the shelf needed kiln wash. We apply the kiln wash, let it dry and fire with pots on them.

  2. The tray is beautiful, so sad about the bottom. You can try fixing it with a rotary tool and a kemper stone. It does seem like something fluxed, maybe even some old glaze on the shelf. I'd clean them well and then apply kiln wash. You just need to let it dry before you use the shelf, you don't need to fire the kiln wash onto the shelf before you load it.

  3. Obviously, I have no advise...but oooh my! love the look.

  4. Wow! Your tray really looks like wood! iT LOOKS GREAT! Bummer about the kiln shelf, Try tapping it with a chisel very lightly to knock off the chunck and then drimmel the rest. good luck.

  5. Yes, the effect is quite nice!

  6. I am of no help with the problem...but it does look like wood. Did it take a long time to learn how to use your kiln? Do you need classes?

  7. I always put my pots on little stilts made of green clay when I glaze fire, so I don't have to monitor the kiln wash situation so closely on my shelves. If anything sticks, it's a lot easier to fix a wad of clay stuck to either the shelf or to the pot. This seems to be more of a problem in electric kilns v. gas fired.

    That wood graining is absolutely amazing! I just love the look.

  8. Your question is way out of my depth, but that wood stain/glaze is so effective.

  9. It's called plucking and it falls under the heading of **** happens.Good smooth kiln wash or a layer of refractory sand from your clay supplier should help.It may still bite you occasionally.

  10. Hi Michele, thanks, I picked out that glaze just hoping it would look like wood. I can't believe the pieces that stuck to the shelf. I don't think I can sell it, I can sand it and use myself I think.

    Hi Lori, thanks, must be some old glaze on the shelf, although the lady I got the kiln from was a porcelain doll maker and she didn't glaze the dolls but painted them after they were fired.

    Hi Turquoisemoon, thanks, didn't it come out super, just when I get a good one something happens to it. Ugh.

    Hi Connie, thanks, I'll be working on the shelves this weekend, getting them up to snuff.

    Hi Ms. Sparrow, thanks so much.

    Hi Gayle, thanks, too bad I can't sell it.

    Hi Dee, thanks, it has been trial and error and reading a lot of the blogs and books on how to use the kiln, but learning to make the pottery takes a long time and there are always things like this that come up.

    Hi Julia, thanks, can you post a photo on your blog sometime of how you do that. Do you ever have the green clay blow up? I usually use the porcelain sand under the large flat pieces but this time I didn't. I'm glad the graining came out so well and that the lines are visible yet not rough. Got to make more now.

    Hi Elephant's Child, thanks so much, more work for me to get busy with. Ha.

    Hi Dennis, thanks, plucking, hum I never heard of it or saw it till today, only plucking I ever knew of was when my grandmother would pluck the feathers out of a chicken, I hope it doesn't bite me again for a long time. **** happens too often for my taste. Ha.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment